Earthquakes are not just a common phenomenon on Earth. In recent news, in what comes as the strongest temblor ever, a magnitude 5 quake shook Mars. This happened on May 4. NASA’s InSight lander detected the quake and it has gone way beyond the previous record, which was a 4.2-magnitude quake. This previous quake took place in August 2021. NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen, taking to Twitter, said, “NASA InSight’s team & partners just received prelim data from Mars on what’s believed to be the largest seismic activity ever recorded on another planet! Preliminary estimate: Magnitude 5 event. Must be patient as teams analyze the data.”
InSight landed in the Elysium Planitia in the year 2018. It is said to be fitted with an extremely sensitive seismometer built by the French space agency CNES. Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, in a statement said, “Since we set our seismometer down in December 2018, we’ve been waiting for ‘the big one. This quake is sure to provide a view into the planet like no other.”
InSight, so far, has detected a total of 1,313 quakes. However, this one comes at a time when InSight is facing new challenges with its solar panels.
Earlier, with the help of NASA rovers, researchers from Arizona State University spotted similarities between rocks found on Mars and Earth. The findings were recently published in the journal Icarus where scientists recognized a rock known as ignimbrite on the red planet. As per the study, the rock is an igneous and sedimentary rock that is formed due to powerful volcanic explosions. The discovery was made after scientists analysed data from NASA’s Spirit rover and Perseverance rover.
While the Spirit rover is around 16 years old and had ended operation in 2010, the Perseverance rover was launched in 2020 and is still operational. During the study, it was found that the positions of these two rovers on Mars have the highest concentration of a volcanic mineral olivine.